IGS Council Election: Term 2022 to 2026

Meet the Newly Elected Council Members

The IGS, in accordance with its bylaws, held elections in 2022. IGS Members had the opportunity to elect eight Council Members, a President and Vice President. Each of the elected members will serve a four-year term, beginning in September 2022.

Click on the bios below to learn more about your newly elected Council Members. 


IGS President Elect

Sam R. Allen



Mr. Sam R. Allen is honored to be nominated by Dr. Jorge Zornberg, former IGs President, to be the next President of the IGS.

Mr. Allen is the Director of the TRI Environmental Group (TRI), a globally active, independent geosynthetic laboratory and research services provider. His work over the past 35 years has involved significant interaction with public and private entities around the world giving him a strong understanding of the needs in world regions for geosynthetics, infrastructure, and sustainability.

Mr. Allen volunteers time to numerous industry-growing organizations. He has served as the Executive Chair of ASTM Committee D35 on Geosynthetics and currently serves as the group’s Membership Secretary. He is the current WG 5 Convenor on Geosynthetic Durability on ISO Technical Committee 221 on Geosynthetics. And, he has served on the Board of Advisors for the Geosynthetic Institute (GSI) for 20+ years.

Importantly, Mr. Allen has been inspired by and dedicated himself to the IGS. He has been elected to the IGS Council (2006, 2010, co-opted 2014, elected 2018), chaired the Education Committee (2008 – 2010), co-chaired the Pan-American Activities Committee (2010), helped launch the Educate the Educators (EtE) program (Argentina – 2013, United States – 2015), and chaired the Communications Committee (2014 – present).

He has also led or contributed substantially to major communications endeavors, such as the Two for a Few series, expanding the IGS’s digital and social media presence, helping manage the rebuild of the IGS Digital Library and IGS website, and working on the Did You Know sustainability campaign.

Mr. Allen strongly believes that the IGS sits at the precipice of a new time of critically important messaging to permanently establish our materials and applications as absolutely necessary to sustainable development and environmental protection, while differentiating them from harmful single use and polluting plastics. Success will require education, awareness and trust from the users of our materials. These are all missions that Mr. Allen brings to his work with the IGS. He combines his scientific background with his passion for growing geosynthetics in engineering around the world.

Without question, Mr. Allen is ready to assume the very important leadership position of the IGS Presidency.


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Vice-President Elect

Edoardo Zannoni

(South Africa)


Mr Edoardo Zannoni is a Registered Professional Engineer and Chartered Engineer working for Knight Piesold Southern Africa (KPSA) as Section Manager: Geotechnical. KPSA is a worldwide consulting engineering firm with more than 100 years’ presence in Africa, providing engineering services to the public and private sectors. He has worked in the geosynthetic industry for more than ten years in technical roles, business management and project management, working in many African countries including South Africa, Ghana, Egypt, Mozambique and Tanzania.

Mr Zannoni served as President of the South African IGS Chapter (GIGSA) from 2014 to 2018. He is the current Chair of the South Africa Bureau of Standards (SABS) Committee in Geosynthetics TC 81E and member of ISO TC 221: Geosynthetics representing South Africa. He is also on the technical review panel for the South African Institute of Civil Engineers (SAICE) and regularly helps to deliver geotechnical modules in universities across South Africa. He was recognised with the IGS Young Member Service Award in 2014.

Mr Zannoni’s dedication to IGS globally began over ten years ago as a Council member,  and Chair of the African Regional Committee, becoming part of the team that successfully delivered GeoAfrica 2013 in Ghana. He has taken part in numerous IGS ambassadors’ programmes in Mozambique, Morocco and Egypt, leading to the establishment of two new IGS Chapters. Mr Zannoni is the current IGS Secretary General and has contributed to initiatives such as the appointment of the Executive Director and new guidelines for the International Conference on Geosynthetics. As Chair of the Council’s Recognitions Task Force, he has driven the introduction of new IGS “named lectures”, which will further raise the international profile of IGS members’ contributions.

Mr Zannoni’s vision is for geosynthetics to become a pivotal technology in infrastructure- related industry as their resiliency compared to natural materials delivers more reliable environmental protection through sustainable solutions. The IGS can become the flywheel and the apex of this increasingly complex industry, consolidating many years of technological advancement and providing a solid framework rooted in technical know-how. As Vice President, Mr Zannoni would strive to ensure that geosynthetics are adopted worldwide; referenced by end-users, governments and engineering practitioners, all recognising the sustainability benefits they bring.

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Newly Elected IGS Council Members

Mikio Kubo



Mikio Kubo is honored to become a candidate for IGS council member with strong support of Japan Chapter of IGS. He will be the first practitioner representing Japan. He will contribute to the IGS effectively as a practitioner with vast experience of natural disasters and a wide knowledge of geosynthetics solutions relevant to such circumstances.

Kubo started his career at Teijin focusing on the development of polyester fibers for base clothes of industrial usages and flame retardant aramid fibers. He spent 18 years at Teijin and then left to form his company, Eternal Preserve, in 1996.

Eternal Preserve partnered with Linear Composites (UK) to introduce a high strength geogrid for embankments on soft ground constructed by Japan Highway Public Corporation. The design and construction methods were widely accepted and have become a preferred solution in the highway construction.

Since 2010 he has been responsible for organizing General Incorporated Association “Study group for deformation control by geosynthetics”.

As an IGS council member he would dedicate his time spreading awareness of the positive environmental impacts of the use of geosynthetics in infrastructures and their maintenance, whilst liaising efficiently between the IGS headquarter and chapters to maximize their relationships.

CV (http://www.etp21.co.jp/cv_mikiokubo.pdf


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Eric Blond



Eric Blond

I solicit the support of IGS members to serve on the IGS Council. I am already contributing to IGS initiatives in two capacities: as the chairman of the Technical Committee on Hydraulics, and as the liaison to ICID. I have previously served on the council between 2010 and 2016.

On the regional level, I am Secretary of IGS-NA, on the Organizing Committee of the IGS-NA Conference in 2024, and on the IGS-NA bidding team for hosting the 13th International Conference on Geosynthetics in Montreal in 2026.

In addition to my IGS commitments, I also support the development of the Geosynthetics Industry through International Standardization. I am currently chairman of ASTM D35.10 on geomembranes, and chairman of the Canadian Mirror Committee of ISO TC221.

I am working as an independent expert based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I am supporting public agencies, designers and manufacturers with design, quality, long-term performance and durability of geosynthetics as well as polymeric materials used in buildings.

My most significant previous experience was to manage SAGEOS, a Geosynthetics Testing and Research Laboratory based near Montreal. Further details on myself, and a list of my publications can be found at www.ericblond.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/geosynthetics-canada/.

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Dimiter Alexiew



Dr. Dimiter Alexiew

I have been active in geotechnics and geosynthetics for about 35 years: both a profession and a passion.

I earned my Dipl.-Ing. TU in Civil Engineering in 1978 in Sofia. Then I worked at the Geotechnical Department of the Bulgarian Engineering Institute and as assistant professor for geotechnics, and at the Bavarian Geotechnical Institute. I got my Doctor in Geotechnics in 1990.

For 25 years, I was Head of Engineering and Technical Director of Huesker Synthetic. In 2018, I founded my own Consultancy for Geosynthetics & Geotechnics.

My activities over the years: design and consultancy of a wide range of projects worldwide, some of them pioneering; design procedures, novel geosynthetics and testing devices; several inventions; co-authoring of codes, standards and books; about 240 peer-reviewed publications; more than 100 lectures.

I am member of several Societies, Technical Committees and Standard Organizations. In 2018, I had the honor to be elected as IGS Council member for 2018 to 2022. My focal points among others were the new IGS Spec Guide, the Education Committee and the TC Reinforcement.

I would like to continue contributing to the global growth of geosynthetic technologies using my enthusiasm, knowledge, experience, contacts, engineering and communication skills for the benefit of all IGS members.

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Chiwan Wayne Hsieh



Dr. Chiwan Wayne Hsieh is a Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering of National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST), Taiwan. He obtained a Ph.D. from Penn State University, USA in 1991. From 1989-1992 he worked for Gannett Fleming Inc., Pennsylvania, USA. He has served as council member for Chinese Taipei Chapter, IGS for over twenty years. Chiwan Hsieh is a Fellow of ASCE and CICHE, Council Member of the IGS (2014-2022), IGS Asian Committee Chair (2018-2022), and member of several international technical societies. He is the director of GSI-Taiwan as a member of Geosynthetic Institute (USA) since 1999, and an elected International Board member of GSI (2009 & 2011).

Professor Hsieh’s primary research interests are engineering behaviour, assessment, and applications of Geosynthetics and construction materials and products, (co)authoring over 200 publications. A regular keynote speaker at conferences and symposia, he organized annual GSI-Taiwan (2006-2009) conferences and the 1st GSI-Asia (2010) conference. Currently, he is President of the Chinese Taipei Chapter, IGS and chairs the organizing committee for the 7th. Asian Regional Conference (GeoAsia7), to be held in Taiwan.  He wishes to play a more active role in the IGS and promote the use of Geosynthetics internationally.

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Patricia Guerra-Escobar



Patricia Guerra-Escobar

Having worked in the field of geotechnics for over 20 years, I am passionate about the role that geosynthetics play in civil engineering to deliver innovative, sustainable, and cost-effective solutions.

I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to work in several countries, starting my career in Colombia, before moving to France, and then Costa Rica, where I worked for eight years travelling extensively across Central American countries developing and expanding the use of geosynthetics in the region. 

In 2010, I moved to the UK and started to work with Geosynthetics Ltd. where I am currently the manager of the Engineering department. In addition, I am the current Chair of the IGS UK Chapter and member of the TC221 of ISSMGE. A focus of mine, throughout my career, has been supporting designers and contractors to use geosynthetics solutions and also educating the next generation of engineers, through mentoring and presenting at universities.

If selected I will use all my technical experience and passion, as well as my ability to work in Spanish, French and English, to advocate for wider use of geosynthetics across the industry to deliver the undoubted sustainability and technical benefits they bring to engineering projects.

Online profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/maria-patricia-guerra-escobar-28b0217b/


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Nicola Moraci



Prof. Eng. Nicola Moraci is a full Professor of Geotechnical Engineering and Vice Rector for Research at the Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria where he was Head of the Department of Civil, Energy, Environmental and Materials Engineering; Member of the Academic Senate and Board of Administrators; Coordinator of the Research Doctorate in Geotechnical Engineering (Tutor of 20 PhD theses) and he is currently the President of the Italian Geotechnical Society (AGI).

His research activity has developed along multiple themes including slope stability, landslide risk mitigation, use of geosynthetics in defence of territory and environmental protection works, landfills and remediation of contaminated sites, soil reinforcement with geosynthetics, protective filters, sustainable geotechnical works. The research activity has led to the editing of more than 220 papers mostly published in important journals and conferences. He received awards for research activities (IGS Award 2008, G&G Best Paper 2017). He is currently Associate Editor of G&G, and Member of the Editorial Board of GI and other important journals.

He has been scientific director of numerous research projects, and invited lecturer at various Conferences, as well as a member of Scientific and Organization Committees of several Conferences. He has been a member of numerous TC for IGS, ISSMGE, CEN and AGI.

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Amir Shahkolahi



Amir Shahkolahi has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering and fellow member of Engineers Australia. As a designer, project manager and researcher, he has been involved in geosynthetic industry over the last 20 years. He is the National Technical Manager at Global Synthetics.

Amir is currently the chair of the Australian Geomechanics Society (AGS)-QLD Chapter, board member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)-Australian Section, member of the ASTM Technical Committee D35-Geosynthetics, Industry Board member of the Australian Pavement Research Hub, Board member of ARC Training Centre for Advanced Technologies in rail Track Infrastructure (ITTC- Rail), and member of the Standards Australia Technical Committee CE/032-Reinforced fill structures working group. He is also the committee member (secretary) of  the International Geosynthetic Society Technical Committees for Barriers (TC-B), board member of the QLD Landfill Working Group, board member of the Waste Management and Resource Recovery of Australia in QLD, member of the International Geosynthetic Society Technical Committees for reinforcement (TC-R) and Stabilisation (TC-S), university guest lecturer on geosynthetics, and the industry supervisor and advisor for several geosynthetic and geotechnical research projects in Australia and overseas.

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Erol Tutumluer



Dr. Erol Tutumluer is Abel Bliss Professor of Engineering specializing in Transportation Geotechnics at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). He has been active in geosynthetics engineering research, education, and practice for over 20 years. He has research interests and expertise in characterization of pavement and railroad track geomaterials, i.e., subgrade soils and base/ballast unbound aggregates, soil/aggregate stabilization and geosynthetics.

Dr. Tutumluer has served as an investigator on over 100 research projects and graduated 22 PhD and 45 MS students, and authored/co-authored over 350 peer reviewed publications from his research projects. Dr. Tutumluer currently serves as a co-opted Council Member and Publication Committee Chair of the International Geosynthetics Society. Dr. Tutumluer is the Founding Editor-in-Chief of the Transportation Geotechnics journal and the Chair of the ISSMGE Technical Committee 202 on Transportation Geotechnics. Dr. Tutumluer serves as the Chair of Transportation Research Board’s (TRB’s) AKG00 Geological and Geotechnical Engineering Section and has been an active member/friend of TRB’s AKG80 Geosynthetics Committee since 2003. Among the prestigious awards Dr. Tutumluer has received for his research achievements are ASCE’s James Laurie Prize and Carl L. Monismith Lecture Award and TRB’s Fred Burggraf Award for Excellence in Transportation Research (UIUC faculty website: https://cee.illinois.edu/directory/profile/tutumlue).

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